2024 NBA Draft Lottery Predictions – From Locks To Low Conviction

As we enter the first week of 2024 I thought it would be fun to predict the 2024 draft lottery selections, giving four different weightings, from Lottery Locks all the way down to Low Conviction predictions. It’ll be fun to look back at this post in 6 months to see what was right on and what was way off.

This time of year there are still a ton of unknowns and I expect at least one prospect to rise from current second round or undrafted obscurity up into the lottery. This year is so wide open that we could see a number of big risers who end up in the lottery…but for now, these are my 14 projected 2024 lottery picks.

Lottery Locks

  • Ron Holland – SF – Ignite – Holland is very much in the running to be the top pick in June and is a lock to go in the lottery. He’s probably not a franchise altering talent but in this draft he’s about as good as it gets. He’s got some RJ Barrett and Jaylen Brown in his game – meaning he’s powerful driver with high level athleticism who brings great effort but isn’t exactly a savant with the ball in his hands.
  • Alexandre Sarr – PF/C – Perth (France) – While he’s not a lock to go in the top 3 it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Sarr isn’t a high lottery pick. He’s got a lot of Evan Mobley in his game, perhaps with better perimeter skills. He’s a force in the paint on defense and can also switch everything and guard in space. There’s no way he’s not a lottery pick.

High Conviction

  • Cody Williams – PG/SF – Colorado – The younger brother of Thunder star JDub, Cody got off to a slow start at Colorado but is coming on very strong, showing off his special ability to get to the basket and make plays for teammates, as a 6-8 point guard/wing. He could go as high as top 5 and feels like a pretty sure-thing for the top 14.
  • Zaccharie Risarcher – SF/PF – France – After falling on draft boards over the late spring and summer Risarcher is playing at a very high level this year, looking extremely confident on the court and hitting the 3 ball well. He’s got all the tools to be a high level starter in the league and should be a mid to high lottery pick in June.
  • Nikola Topic – PG – Red Star (Serbia) – With Topic moving from the Adriatic League to the EuroLeague it’s going to be fascinating to see if he can maintain his lofty draft stock. Whether or not his stock drops a bit I think it’s a great move for him to get experience playing in the second toughest league in the world. And even if his stock drops a bit, he’s still a lottery pick.
  • Mataz Buzelis – SF – Ignite – After missing some time with an injury Buzelis is finding his footing in the G League and looking like a likely top 14 pick. He’s more of a complimentary player who will play off the ball, space the floor and be an all-around impact player at the next level.
  • Ja’Kobe Walter – SG – Baylor – I think Walter is close to being a lottery lock. As a 6-6 guard with a great frame who can shoot the cover off the ball he’ll be a highly coveted prospect who projects as a high level NBA starter. In time I expect he’ll get more creative with the ball in his hands and be able to initiate the offense. But for now he’s a dynamic scorer on the wing with all the tools to be a star.

Medium Conviction

  • Stephon Castle – SG – UConn – Castle might not get huge minutes or put up big numbers this year on a deep and talented UConn team but he’ll be a key cog on the team in March and a highly prized prospect in June. His outside shot is still a work in progress but the dribble drive game is special plus he’s got great size and athleticism for a combo guard.
  • Isaiah Collier – PG – USC – I have mixed feelings about Collier: I love the way he can operate the offense and impose his will on the game but that comes with a lot of turnovers and not much outside shooting. In this less than stellar draft he’s got a real chance to be a lottery pick but it’s not a sure thing.

Low Conviction

  • Yves Missi – C – Baylor – I get that I’m way higher on Missi than just about everyone else, and so this listing could be off base. But I see big upside with Missi and view him as a potential lottery pick (whether this year or next).
  • Ryan Dunn – SF – Virginia – The 6-8 sophomore forward might be the best defender in all of college basketball. He’s also a wiry athlete who runs the floor well, is a good mover off the ball and makes a lot of impact plays that don’t always show up in the stat sheet. The outside shot is the big question mark and could be the one thing that keeps him from getting picked in the top 14.
  • Donovan Clingan – C – UConn – All the tools are there, he just needs to stay healthy. You hate to see foot injuries with a 7-footer, so it’s a big concern but assuming he’s healthy he’ll be very much in lottery consideration. He has a big impact in the paint on both ends of the floor and should benefit from NBA spacing, especially if he lands on a team with great passing and ball movement.
  • Reed Sheppard – PG/SG – Kentucky – Coming into the season I thought Sheppard would be a three or four year college player and a possible second round pick a few years down the line. But after an incredibly strong start to his Kentucky career he’s looking like a one-and-done first rounder with lottery potential. My draft range for him right now is about 12-25, which is why he falls into this low conviction category. Still his play this year and his rise up draft boards has been impressive.
  • Tidjane Salaun – SF/PF – France – I was tempted to put NBA-ready seniors Dalton Knecht and PJ Hall or hyper-active big Adem Bona in this spot but I think Salaun is the type of upside player that deserves lottery consideration, even though he’s not exactly NBA ready or well known outside of draft circles. I’m super impressed by his combination of size, athleticism and emerging ball skills and think he deserves to be in the lottery discussion.

As I mentioned above there are a few names including Dalton Kencht, PJ Hall and Adem Bona that I was tempted to put in the top 14. Another sneaky name who could be a lottery pick is Bobi Klintman, the former Wake Forest forward who is playing at a high level in the NBL. Also, keep an eye on some of the freshmen including Aaron Bradshaw, Jared McCain, Rob Dillingham and Justin Edwards.

Could Kevin McCullar Jr. rise all the way up to the lottery? How about Kyle Filipowski?

I write this post on January 1st knowing full well that some of these predictions will be way off come June. But that’s the nature of the business. And that’s why it’s so exciting to follow the draft process throughout the year!

Happy 2024 everybody!

2024 NBA Mock Draft